The National Fire Protection Association reports 38% of home fire deaths occur during the months of December, January and February.
The Helena Fire Department (HFD) is offering some simple tips to help protect your home this holiday season.
“The key piece we talk about is smoke and carbon monoxide alarms,” said HFD Fire Marshal Lou Antonick. “We’ve had so many situations here in Helena where they’ve made a huge difference.”
Antonick says people should check their alarms regularly to make sure they’re in working order. As for holiday decorations, there are several steps people can take to limit risk.
If people are using a real tree, they should cut two inches off the base once it’s home, place it in a sturdy stand and water it every day. Lights on the tree or in the home should be turned off at night and when you leave the residence.
“We want people to make sure their lights are in good working order,” said Antonick. “If they’re not, throw them away.”
If the light string shows any sign of fraying or cracking, that means it should be replaced. Candles should never be placed near anything that could potentially catch fire such as drapes or art.
Turkey fryers should only be used outside, away from the building and make sure nothing is above the fryer. Additonally, Antonick says it’s a good rule to never leave what you are cooking unattended.
“A lot of people have a tendency to leave the kitchen after they start cooking something, like to go out and watch some TV or get on the computer,” said Antonick. “Stay in the kitchen. Make sure you turn the stove off when you’re done and turn the stove off if you leave.”
Slow cookers are generally safe, but can be a fire hazard if the wiring has frayed. People should unplug the slow cooker when not in use.
More information about holiday fire safety can be found on the National Fire Protection Agency’s website.